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South African Koeksisters

By Carolie de Koster
South African Koeksisters
36 servings
  • 19 reviews

  • Difficulty Easy
  • Prep time 1 hrs
  • Cooking time 30 mins
  • Serves

    4 cups (1 litre) Chelsea White Sugar
    2½ cups (625 ml) water
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 x 2,5 cm piece fresh root ginger
    1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
    ½ tsp (2,5 ml) cream of tartar
    ½ tsp glycerine (optional for extra shiny koeksisters)

    4 cups (4 x 250 ml) High grade flour
    ½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt
    4 tsp (20 ml) baking powder
    1 Tbsp (15 ml) sugar
    ¼ cup (60 ml) butter
    2 eggs
    ½ cup (125 ml) milk
    ± ½ cup (125 ml) water

    oil for frying (sunflower or canola)


    1. Place the ingredients for the syrup into a saucepan and stir over moderate heat until the sugar has melted. Bring to boil and boil 1 minute. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Allow to cool and chill overnight to make the syrup ice cold.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients for the dough and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together the eggs and milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix with a fork, adding as much of the water as necessary to make a soft dough (similar to scone dough).
    3. Turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead very gently for 2 – 3 minutes until smooth. Return to the bowl, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or several hours.
    4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangular shape and about 0.5 cm thick. Cut lengthwise into strips about 4 cm wide and then crosswise into rectangles about 8 cm long. Keeping about 1 cm at the top end of each rectangle intact, cut it into three strips. Plait the strips very loosely to allow for rising while frying and press the ends together well to seal neatly. Set aside on a tray until all the plaits are made and cover with a damp cloth.
    5. Divide the syrup into two bowls – use the first bowl until the syrup starts to warm up and then use the second bowl. Return the first bowl with syrup to the freezer to chill again.
    6. Pour enough oil into a medium sized saucepan to come 5 cm up the sides of the pan and heat the oil to moderately hot (170 º C). Fry the koeksisters a few at a time until golden on both sides. Lift out with a perforated spoon and place into the ice-cold syrup. Press down lightly for about 30 seconds and lift out with a fork or tongs. Take care not to use the same implements in the oil and syrup. Place onto a cooling rack set over a plate or tray to catch up the syrup that will drain off for it may be necessary to re-use it at the end. Repeat until all the koeksisters are fried and dipped. Serve as a special treat for dessert or with tea or coffee. Delicious!

    This recipe has not been tested by Chelsea Sugar.

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Average Rating
(19 reviews)

horrible recipe, the dough came out way too dry and I couldn't even roll it out properly. I had to use a other recipe to make adjustments. shouldn't have trusted a recipe that wasn't even tested by the creator

Thank you for sharing. I made them. I did not plat the koeksisters i made little balls. Was delicious.

Like our SA Taditional Koeksisters this recipe is nice and crispy yet dripping with

This is a fantastic recipe fool proof
I live in South Africa and its the best koeksisters I have had. I fry them till the darker than golden makes them crispy delicious
Thank you so much
Love and blessings from Sunny South Africa

Made this step by step, added a bit of cinnamon powder to my syrup and a bit more lemon juice. My family loved it and my British neighbours couldn’t get enough of how juicy yet crunchy these koeksisters were. Definitely a winner

Looks too hard but love the image. Seems like 207,373 people also agree

i think its good

I have made these twice in the past two weeks. This recipe deserves a 5 star rating. These really are the best koeksisters that I have ever eaten in my 70 years of life. I love the way that they expand as well when they are being fried. The koeksisters that we buy in the shops are very small and very expensive. It's an easy-to-follow recipe and the results are stunning! Thank you.

For sure the best recipe. My koeksisters is super yummy

Once made, how long can you keep them for? Either in the refrigerator or sealed container?

CHELSEA SUGAR: Hi there, they should keep for 1-2 days in a sealed container at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge. You can also pop them in a sealed container in the freezer for 3 months.

Absolutely love this recipe! I always make koeksisters! Lekker Man!

I love them and they are great.

I love them

Love them! They are super delicious!

Really easy recipe to follow and perfect koeksisters, gave them to my SA in-laws and got a big tick of approval!

Easy recipe to follow and remember and perfect koeksisters as an end result


This is the best.

Easy to make and good to eat.
As a South African, I know a good koeksister when I eat one. This is not bad, not bad at all. A solid 4.

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